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Bessie B. Silverthorn


MISS BESSIE B. SILVERTHORN.A young woman of rare musical and literary attainments who is contributing much to the building up of Stanislaus County is Miss Bessie B. Silverthorn, the efficient librarian of the Oramil McHenry Library at Modesto. This building is the headquarters for the Stanislaus County Free Library and Miss Silverthorn is also head librarian for the various libraries housed here. The library building is a gift of Oramil McHenry to Modesto City and is one of the best and most substantial and beautiful buildings of its kind in the San Joaquin Valley. 

Miss Silverthorn was born at Evansville, Ind., but her parents were from way down East. She was the daughter of John M. and Elizabeth (Babbitt) Silverthorn. Her farther was the editor of the Evansville Courier Journal and was born in New Jersey, while her mother was born at Bethel, Vt.. and educated in Italy for grand opera, being the fortunate possessor of an exceptional voice and operatic ability.

Her father having died, her mother left Evansville when her daughter was only two years old. She was educated under private governesses and at Virginia College, Roanoke, Va., later entering the New England Conservatory of Music at Boston and becoming a proficient pianist.

She then took up literary and library work, her first post being assistant reference librarian at Washington, D. C., and later she served as college librarian at Norwich University at Northfield, Vt. Coming to California in 1913, she accepted a position as librarian of the Kings County Free Library and engaged in the work there from 1913 to 1916, when she became librarian for the Siskiyou County Free Library at Yreka and continued there until the year of 1920, when she accepted her present position as librarian for the Stanislaus County Free Library, succeeding Miss Cornelia Doug as Provines. The library is daily receiving new books, having already on its shelves 50,000 volumes. There are fifty-six branches of the Stanislaus County Free Library. The principal branches are located at Oakdale, Patterson, Newman, Turlock, municipal branch, Denair, Ceres, Hughson.  

Gifted with a winning personality and an excellent memory, Miss Silverthorn's ability and experience have made her valuable to the patrons of the various libraries and their numerous branches over which she presides. She is a welcome addition to Modesto's best social and literary circles, and with her mother she makes her home at 227 Hackberry Avenue, Modesto. Miss Silverthorn is vice-president of the Woman's Improvement Club, and she keeps in touch with the trend of modern thought and especially with all that has to do with educational interests, and her life has been one of great activity and usefulness.

Source:  History of Stanislaus County California with Biographical Sketches of The Leading Men and Women of the County Who Have Been Identified with Its Growth and Development From the Early Days to the Present  by George H. Tinkham, Historic Record Company, Los Angeles California   1921.


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